148th Fighter Wing Members Return From Norway

Duluth, Minn. — They’re back, Airmen from the 148th Fighter Wing, are back after taking part in the 50th exchange of military personnel between Norway and Minnesota. Two of the nearly 100 National Guard members who took part in the training talked with Fox 21 about their experience.

“Sometimes you think you know everything but you don’t until you’re taught and that’s when we learned it. They’re very professional and quite patient people to train us,” said Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Gabrielson.

Captain Mylii Pukema said, “I think it was everything I thought it would be but they definitely put us to task and at the same time though I think that   what made it possible to get through it was that it was a large group working as a team. We all worked together and made sure that everyone made it through”

These two agree the training was difficult, and that they learned valuable lessons about survival, and also about themselves and what they are capable of. One tough situation they faced was having to jump into a frozen lake and get themselves out using only ski poles.

“I think it was a really valuable lesson that they taught us because it’s a concept of knowing that you have to jump in and you have to pull yourself out and having to keep your bearing together,” said Pukema.. When I went in the instructor made us ask permission to get out of the water.”

Both Gabrielson and Pakema were able to attend the ceremony where a formal agreement was signed between Minnesota and Norway to continue and expand the 50 year history of troop exchanges. Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz and Sonja Queen of Norway were on hand for the signing.

By listening to her perspective on the importance of her involvement in the state partnership and her making it shown by her presence, how much value added she found the relationship between Minnesota and Norway to be was something I did not expect to hear

The new agreement expands the exchange to include all of Norway’s armed forces. They will continue train in Minnesota just as the Norwegian Home Guard has.  The 148th Fighter Wing and other Air National Guard members will continue taking part in Winter Survival training in Norway.

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